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Inquisitorial Ideology at Work in an Auto De Fe, 1680: Religion in the Context of Proto-Racism

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The article explores inquisitorial ideology as functionaries of the Spanish Inquisition represented and understood it in the late seventeenth century. My analysis focuses on the official account of and sermon delivered at a monumental auto de fe celebrated in Madrid in 1680. I contend that in the process of demonizing Jews and Judaism, the auto articulated a religious worldview with deep roots in a society not yet "disenchanted" by modernity. My attempt, here, however, is also to anchor an interpretation of the auto in its unique historical context—a context of anti-Portuguese persecution in late seventeenth-century Spain—and thus to historicize more sweeping, anthropological readings of auto ceremonies as forms of religious representation (for instance, in recent work by Maureen Flynn), while deepening interpretations of inquisitorial Judeophobia (such as that of Marvin Lunenfeld) that emphasize the socio-political dynamics of "scapegoating" rather than anti-Judaism's preponderant religious dimension.


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